Questions/answers about Gold OA: (please add your answers and other questions)
1. Is the author a customer of a Gold OA publisher?
I think it is.
2. What is the author paying for, as a customer?
I think the author pays for the peer-review service.
3. What offers the Gold OA publisher for the money?
I think it offers only the peer-review service, because
– dissemination can be done by the author by submitting to arxiv, for example,
– +Mike Taylor says that the Gold OA publisher offer the service of assembling an editorial board, but who wants to buy an editorial board? No, the authors pays for the peer-review process, which is managed by the editorial board, true, which is assembled by the publisher. So the end-product is the peer-review and the author pays for that.
– almost 100% automated services, like formatting, citation-web services, hosting the article are very low value services today.
However, it might be argued that the Gold OA publisher offers also the service of satisfying the author’s vanity, as the legacy publishers do.
4. Why no Gold OA publisher present itself as a seller of the peer-review service?
Have no idea.
5. Why is the peer-review service valuable?
– it spares time for the reader, who will select more likely a peer-reviewed paper to read,
– it is a filter for the technical quality of the articles,
– it helps authors to write better articles, as an effect of the referees comments,
– it is also a tool for influencing the opinions of the community, by spinning up some research subjects and downplaying others.
Also on G+ here.